How to pick a suit colour

07 August 2017

While one’s complexion doesn't nor shouldn’t matter, there are certain colours to suit skin tones better than others.

Dressing for the occasion has its complexities, and perhaps one of the most overlooked factors in tailoring is skin colour. While one’s complexion doesn't nor shouldn’t matter, there are certain colours to suit skin tones better than others. The best suit combinations provide a positive contrast between the wearer and the suit, enhancing how the gentleman looks, not the other way around.

Certain colours tend to wash out their wearer. It’s no one’s fault, just an unfortunate side effect of certain colours like beige, tan and green with fair and medium skin. The way to know if you suffer this affliction is to hold the suit fabric against your skin and if you look pale, yellow or unwell, it’s probably not the colour for you. Try a suit colour that’s warmer and enriches the colour of your face, rather than removing it.    

If you have darker skin then look for colours that enhance your complexion. The differences in suits' shades can be subtle, but can have a great effect on you. Avoid colours like dark browns, but embrace blues, tans, greys and anything else that takes your fancy.

Certain colours suit most complexions: you can't go wrong with black, grey or navy—they look good on almost everyone. However, someone with particularly fair skin should avoid black and charcoal, but should feel free to experiment with lighter greys and navies. The lighter tones complement fair skin better.

Accessories also play a part in how we look. Ties, shirts and pocket squares highlight certain colours in our complexions and can improve our appearance. For example, a gentleman with green eyes who wears a similarly coloured tie will notice his eyes pop brighter than usual, or someone with hazel eyes with flecks of green will see them become more dominant.

When choosing a suit colour, you should always pick shades that make you look even better. It’s not an absolute game-changer, but once you know the palette that works best for you, it’s impossible to look bad in suiting.

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